Gold rush in tough times for Ballarat’s jewellers, including Allan Bros Jewellers and Alexa’s Treasures | The Courier

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Ballarat is in the midst of another gold rush as some of the town’s jewellers have defied the pandemic’s ravages. Allan Bros Jewellers is one retailer to have strongly performed over the last two years, testament to owner Bill Allan and his team. “We’ve got through it very well, all things considered,” Mr Allan said. “We’ve worked hard at getting to be where we wanted to be.” Locals’ desire for precious items in dark times has seen Allan Bros Jewellers flourish. “Ironically, even with the price of gold up high, that hasn’t deterred people from spending money,” Mr Allan said. “The other thing we’ve been lucky with is we have onsite manufacturing. We make a lot of customer special requests and a lot of stock for our own displays.” Mr Allan is committed to not stocking inferior imported products. “Some of it’s cheap; some of it can be nasty,” he said. “What we get is quality-tested and very price-competitive.” Life’s constants have aided the industry, according to Mr Allan. “Birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions all go on,” he said. IN OTHER NEWS: There have been other factors which have contributed to the success, such as embracing technology. “(In 2020), when the lockdowns were happening, we strengthened our ecommerce site,” Mr Allan said. “We kept people in the loop as much as possible.” The boss has also noticed many people new to town coming into his prized shop so his client base has increased. He understands the lure of Ballarat. “The quality of the lifestyle is excellent,” Mr Allan said. The last two festive periods have been good ones for the store. “Come Christmas 2020, the fact that people weren’t able to travel overseas or interstate kept a lot of people at home (and made that) quite a reasonable Christmas,” Mr Allan said. “The Christmas we’ve just had, we’ve virtually had a record Christmas. “This year, compared to other years, it seemed to start a lot earlier. You’ve got that Black-Friday-American-concept of commercialism happening, as well as Cyber Monday. The big boys have promoted it. You can run off the advertising they do. “That flowed into December and right into Christmas.” Alexa’s Treasures is another Ballarat jewellery business to have overcome. Mother and daughter Gaby Mills and Kim Sascia form the charismatic couple behind the 20-year-old business. “It was fine. We cannot complain at all,” Ms Mills said of the last two years. “We’ve been very fortunate,” the humble Ms Sascia added. “We started off very small. We extended four years ago. It’s been a lot of work. It’s come a long way.” The two are proud of the shop’s point of difference, a feature which has significantly contributed to its achievements. “We have the widest variety of jewellery in Australia,” Ms Mill said, matter-of-factly. “We have done our research on that. We have done research overseas and cannot find another shop like this. “We have, at the moment, 18,000 different articles here. Every piece, you’ll see only once.” In addition, there has been a focus on ensuring items are accessible to patrons. “We do not have the overheads,” Ms Mills said, referring to retailers which operate in shopping centres. “We have kept our prices so everyone can afford them.” The business’ reputation is also advantageous, a standing which has stemmed from an emphasis on honesty, decency, and integrity. “We have a fantastic team, a fun team,” Ms Mills said. “We have a good service here, an old-fashioned service.” Ms Sascia acknowledges technological advancements have boosted the business as, prior to the health crisis, the shop’s online presence was minimal. “The good thing of COVID was that it enabled us to begin our website,” Ms Sascia said. “Now, we have over 9000 products on our website. It’s opened an entire market for us which we didn’t have before. We sell internationally and it’s brilliant.” Customers have come from across Australia, England, Netherlands, France, America, and New Zealand. “We have regular customers from Darwin who have asked us several times to open a shop in Darwin because we are unique,” Ms Mills said. Ms Sascia is under no illusions about the role of Alexa’s Treasures in individuals’ daily existence. “We seem to be a part of many people’s lives here,” she said. “That’s a magic thing. In a way, we’ve become tradition for a lot of people. I say to mum, ‘We sell happiness’. “They come into our home. They come to our family. It’s a beautiful environment. It’s a joy to come to work. “We love what we do.” Ms Mills concurs with her youthful daughter, indicating financial gain is not their primary motivator. “We are in it for what we do,” Ms Mills said, speaking with undeniable passion. “People can feel that to a point where, sometimes, it brings tears to your eyes.” If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.


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